Opportunity Mars Rover Continues Studies While Heading North

Latest Opportunity Update Rover Continues Studies While Heading North. Opportunity Status for sol 2764-2770. The seasonal plan for Opportunity is to winter over on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater where northerly tilts are favorable for solar array energy production.

As such, the project has been driving the rover towards the north end of the cape with a route along the west side that creates opportunities for science along the way. The science team is investigating a light-toned vein, called "Homestake" with the instruments on the rover's robotic arm.

On Sol 2764 (Nov. 2, 2011), the robotic arm was used to collect Microscopic Imager (MI) images of the Homestake vein, then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On the next sol, additional MI images were collected with a small repositioning of the APXS to better center the target within the sweet spot of the APXS. On Sol 2766 (Nov. 4, 2011), the robotic arm collected additional MI images of Homestake and positioned the APXS on a different part of the vein for another integration. On Sol 2769 (Nov. 7, 2011), Opportunity bumped about a 3 feet (1 meter) away to setup for some in-situ (contact) science on a patch of exposed bedrock, part of the same unit that contains the Homestake vein. On Sol 2770 (Nov. 8, 2011), the rover performed a small turn to position the exposure of rock outcrop within reach of the rover's robotic arm. The plan ahead is an APXS placement of the outcrop before driving away.

As of Sol 2770 (Nov. 8, 2011), solar array energy production was 295 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.774 and a solar array dust factor of 0.489.

Total odometry is 21.25 miles (34,200.33 meters, or 34.20 kilometers).

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